Manchester City Secure Crucial Win At Everton As VAR Causes More Chaos

Phil Foden's goal was enough for all three points
19:36, 26 Feb 2022

This felt like another momentous away win in Manchester City’s quest to retain their Premier League title. A late Phil Foden goal earned them all three points against Everton, but the real talking point came after that opener, as both referee Paul Tierney and VAR denied the hosts a penalty, when Rodri had clearly handballed in the box. 

This led to utter confusion on social media, and in the stands as it seemed like Manchester City had been given an unfair advantage without explanation. However, Tierney then gave an offside, and some reports suggest that Richarlison was offside in the build-up, although that replay was not shown on the screen. 

This is the issue when referees cannot explain their decision and the VAR decisions are not mic’d up. The entire football world was left baffled by this decision, with commentators in the stands left equally as bewildered as the rest of the public, due to the lack of communication. It would be nice to be informed of exactly why the decision was not given, rather than having to take a stab in the dark. 

This certainly wasn’t a vintage City performance, but like champions do, they got the job done. Both sides emerged from the touchline with Ukrainian flags on display, and with Vitaliy Mykolenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko sharing an embrace on the pitch during the warm-up, there was a sense something bigger than football was unifying the two teams. 

Kevin De Bruyne saw his shot easily collected by Jordan Pickford on the half hour mark, notable as it was the first shot on target either side could muster up to that point. Jonjoe Kenny, who has never scored for Everton saw his left-footed effort hit the side-netting while Anthony Gordon’s long-range free-kick hit the top of the net.

Foden had an effort parried by Pickford as the second half began before John Stones fizzed in a long-range effort against his former club that was once again stopped by his England teammate. 

De Bruyne then fired one in low at goal and Pickford got back up to deny Bernardo Silva from close range with an outstretched right arm. It was a remarkable double save from England’s number one and Pickford played well throughout, but Everton would make a fatal error with nine minutes left. 

As the ball came across the box from Bernardo Silva, it got a deflection from Mason Holgate and Michael Keane was caught on his heels in the six-yard box. Phil Foden wasn’t though, and took full advantage to stab the ball into the net past a helpless Pickford - who didn’t deserve that for his performance. 

Ederson raced out to deny Richarlison from close range but as City attempted to clear and struck Rodri’s outstretched arm. Although the decision was not given on the field, VAR took a second look and decided not to send the referee over to the monitor, even though it looked - for all the world - to be a handball. 

That will be the major talking point from this match as City go six points clear of Liverpool ahead of the Carabao Cup final tomorrow, but the Reds now have a game in hand on their title rivals as Everton slip closer to the bottom three.

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